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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Licuala (Molucca name). Palmaceae. Showy, dwarf fan palms, grown for their peculiar habit and handsome foliage.

Stems solitary or in groups, never very tall, and usually slender: lobes of the leaves long, wedge-shaped, plicate, truncate and variously lobed or split, deeply and irregularly divided, appearing but not truly peltate; rachis very short; ligule short; sheaths fibrous: flowers large, hermaphrodite, in a loose panicle which appears among the leaves. -Species 50 or more, from Trop. Asia to Trop. Austral. Allied genera in cultured are Brahea, Serenoa, Erythea, Pritchardia, Livistona, Trachycarpus, Rhapis. From these Licuala is distinguished by the carpels of the ovary 3-angled, slightly coherent; style single, filiform : albumen equable: embryo dorsal. Desirable in cultivation.

Licualas are very handsome warmhouse palms of moderate growth, several species of which have been grown to some extent commercially. They delight in a tropical temperature and abundant moisture, and should also be shaded from strong sunshine in order to produce foliage of the deep, rich shade of green that is common to this genus. Some advise treating them as semi-aquatic. The most attractive species is L. grandis, which has been until recent years a costly species owing to its comparative rarity in cultivation. It is probably within twenty-five years that the first consignment of seeds of this species was received in America. The large fan-shaped leaves of licualas are somewhat tender and easily injured, which makes them of less value for house decoration, but as exhibition plants there are few palms more striking than L. grandis and L. elegans. L. spinosa and L. peltata are also well worth cultivation, though objection is sometimes found to the strong hooked spurs with which their leafstalks are armed. Propagation is by fresh seeds, over brisk bottom heat, preferably in pans. CH

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